You have your say on retail in Newbury
More independents stores, a revamp of the Kennet Centre and better parking are the just some of the key themes uncovered in a public consultation that Newbury Town Council carried out to form its draft Town Plan.
The responses will be considered at the next meeting of the Town Plan Steering Group, for possible inclusion in the final version of the Plan, due to be submitted for approval by the Full Town Council in June.
Those responding to the consultation were asked a number of questions, including responding to the opinion of Newbury’s Business Improvement District (The BID) who say that since Parkway came on-line, Newbury is nearing saturation in terms of retail, and it is now the mix of retail that needs to be worked on and that a second retail park would be very detrimental to the town centre and Newbury as a whole, as the town does not have the capacity to support two retail parks outside the town centre.
The re-development of the Kennet Centre and the proposed Urban Quarter development to the south should be part of an overall plan for the south-central area, not considered in isolation as two separate developments according to one person. They added: “There is an opportunity to re-generate the whole of this area as a mixed-use zone, but both developments will be disadvantaged if they are not linked. A re-design of the road network is required to avoid further dividing these two adjacent areas.”
Meanwhile one thrifty car parker, said: “Your rates are so high for smaller independents that you end up driving them out. That combined with the astronomical car parking fees drive people out of Newbury. It is well acknowledged that the revenue from car parking is essential to the council, but why oh why are you not providing incentives for people to stay and shop in Newbury, by capping the fees for parking over three hours? You need people to spend, so get them to stay in Newbury for longer using a gentler car parking model. I am one of many individuals who limits their visit to the minute so that I don't have to pay another £1.20 for an extra hour. Give businesses a break!”
Not everybody was supportive of Newbury Bid. They stated: “Do not let BID dictate policy, need to be brave and think outside the box with regards to Newbury’s future. The variety of shops and quality of shopping has greatly improved in the last 30 years, even more so since Parkway was built. Although we have lost some independent shops, which seems to be a countrywide trend. Love our independents and that we don't just have chains as previously stated park way is fair to expensive so try to make the Kennet Centre a more affordable shopping experience with less eating places and coffee shops and more affordable shops!!”
Cllr Anthony Pick, Chairman of the Steering Group, said: “We are very pleased at the number and quality of the responses. They show how much the people of Newbury care about their town and how much constructive thought was put into preparing them. We are grateful for all the responses, which will materially assist us.”